2023 Capstone Projects

Thomas Ahlin - Artificial Intelligence Can Integrate Empathy and Compassion into Healthcare 

Thomas Ahlin

While artificial intelligence (AI) is often perceived as an impersonal invention or data manufactured by the computer, it has the potential to incorporate empathy and compassion into healthcare. AI can be used to rapidly interpret test data, detect anomalies not visible by humans, diagnose diseases, and design treatment plans. It has the ability potential to revolutionize healthcare by providing expedited diagnoses that are highly accurate, which decrease patient anxiety, accelerate necessary medical interventions, and provide the opportunity for quality patient-centered communications. These patient-centered communications become the cornerstone for the infusion of empathy and compassion into the science of medicine. These foundational relationships are built on trust, and trust is often built through time spent in conversation in addition to accurate and honest conversations dialogue about diagnosis and treatment. If AI is successfully implemented into the medical system, it will help to provide immediate and accurate results to patients, which ultimately will allow providers to have additional confidence in the diagnosis and more time to discuss treatment options that are most appropriate for patients. Patients, whose physicians are empathetic and emotionally committed, experience a better quality of life, are more satisfied with treatment decisions, and experience greater satisfaction with their healthcare. Although there are many challenges that need to be solved before AI can be an integral part of everyday modern medicine, AIit has the power potential to transform diagnostic imaging and diagnosis, improve healthcare with earlier detection, revolutionize physician-patient relationships, and integrate empathy and compassion into healthcare.


Maggie Allen - Compassionate Care in Interventional Radiology: All Paths Lead to the “Heart” of Medicine 

Margaret Allen

Compassionate care, known as the empathetic motivation and path to action when helping someone in need, is integral in medicine for successful patient care and physician connection especially in the practice of interventional radiology. Interventional radiology was historically a diagnostic discipline which progressively became more procedural and patient-facing. As such, the need for compassionate care techniques in application to the medical specialty has increased to allow the best care for patients and increase physician satisfaction while decreasing burnout through patient-physician connection. Patients often experience emotional stress preceding and during procedures, yearn for a trusting relationship with a physician during medical suffering, and seek an emotional connection when experiencing vulnerability within care and treatment. This comprehensive PUBMED literature review of relevant articles to the topic at hand will reveal how the implementation of holistic communication, motivational interviewing, Polyvagal Theory, and compassionate care mindset concepts within medical school, residency, and medical practice are key to facilitating connection and compassion between patients and physicians. There are current challenges in applying compassionate care principles within interventional radiology due to time constraints with patients, lack of universal humanistic care education in medical training, and variations in practice environments. Through the implementation of specific compassionate techniques and education including compassionate care standards and methods in medical training, both the patient and physician experience will be improved within interventional radiology care.


Oumayma Al-Shamary - Trauma-Informed Care for Refugees and Migrants 

Oumayma Al Shamary

This capstone project examines the patient-clinician relationship with refugee patients who have experienced trauma. Compassion is discussed at great length as it is at the center every interaction with the patient and providing proper care and support for them. Refugees endure pain and trauma through the loss of loved ones, abuse, sexual assault, persecution, and food or water scarcity among many other things. Refugee patients are often presented with limitations of resources, language and cultural barriers, time, cost, and lack of health literacy or access to healthcare. Helping patients overcome these internal and external barriers is possible through compassionate care and open communication. A literature review of various studies and models were discussed in this project as the paper uncovers how compassion fatigue can be combatted with the proper organizational tooland mental health resources for healthcare professionals. An interview was conducted with my father as I inquired about his experience with healthcare and PTSD. This project has shown that employing compassion in healthcare settings and when working with refugee patients can serve as a protective factor against burnout for the healthcare professionals and for the patient as they can recover from their trauma. Empathic listening, validation, and empathic responses can also improve patient satisfaction. The use of IRC CCSAS and other compassionate clinical care tools can increase knowledge an confidence in healthcare providers when caring for sexual assault survivors and protect refugee patient health.: Understanding how central the science of compassion is in healthcare and in treating refugee patients allows healthcare providers to better support their patients who have or are experiencing trauma. Improving communication and health literacy can prove to be beneficial in strengthening patient-clinician interactions. This can be achieved through nonverbal communication, managerial support for healthcare professionals, compassionate care training and education, and employing a sound and successful trauma-informed care model in healthcare organizations. 

Noah Baca - An Examination of Financial Incentives Within the United States Healthcare System 

Noah Baca

Financial incentives within American healthcare have turned public medical institutions into a for-profit conglomerate of independent businesses all competing for the dollar of the patient. Capitalistic tendencies have enriched healthcare systems at the expense of those they treat, causing healthcare to be unaffordable for a sizeable portion of our population. Furthermore, patient outcomes in the United States remain poor, even though costs to the consumer are by far the highest when compared to any other developed nation. In general, we pay much more for subpar services. In this capstone, I seek to examine the current financial state of the United States healthcare system. Historical context, financial data, and other such statistics will be compiled and examined to provide a cohesive picture of the state of our system of care. Solutions to these problems will be posited through the perspective of the science of compassionate caring.





Kanisha Bahierathan - Compassionate Care in the Homeless Population: Medicine That Matters 

Kanisha Bahierathan

Homelessness has become a wide-spread global issue that typically leads to high levels of reported loneliness and social outcasting from society. The mental and physical toll that is often associated with achieving homeless status can be severe and serve as the gateway to increased vulnerability to mental and physical diseases. The cause of homelessness can be wide-varied, from eviction to abuse and emotional trauma and more - however each cause requires empathy, understanding and guidance to overcome. The concept of compassionate care has received increased attention worldwide as clinicians and researchers alike are realizing the powerful emotional and neurological effects of compassion in renewing and reviving the homeless population in particular. (Limebury, 2015) This Capstone paper will focus on compassionate care’s role in improving healthcare experiences for homeless populations throughout the United States, primarily through the approach of harm reduction strategies. This paper constitutes the results of a comprehensive Pubmed literature search of the topic to address these issues. This past summer I completed an SSLP at Boston Healthcare for the Homeless (BHCHP) and it was an eye-opening experience. I was able to work alongside Notre Dame alumni, Dr. Jim O’Connell, and truly witnessed his commitment to empowering one of the most underserved populations in the area. In addition to his New York Times best-selling novel, there is ample research describing the positive and long-term effects on health outcomes that compassionate care and the harm reduction strategies practiced at BHCHP can have on the substance abuse and mental health disorders that the homeless often face.

Kirsten Bains Williams - Exploring the Intersection between Patient-Centered Care and Technological Treatments for Anxiety and Related Disorders 

Kirsten Bains Williams

Patient-centered care is the new expectation healthcare clinicians must achieve. This concept is rooted in the framework of compassion. The following paper seeks to evaluate how patient-centered care manifests in the face of technological treatments, specifically for anxiety andrelated disorders. Anxiety and related disorders are one of the most prevalent class of disorders in the United States. They pose a financial and psychological burden on individuals. However, these disorders are under treated, and patients experience multiple barriers to receiving care, including obstacles related to accessibility and affordability. As a result, new technological treatments have been proposed to address this gap in health care. Three therapies of interest are virtual reality exposure therapy, artificial intelligence-assisted therapy, and transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy. Based on a comprehensive literature review, it can be concluded that these treatment types are effective at reducing the severity of anxiety and related disorders. More importantly, they can be implemented in accordance with the principles of patient-centered care with some limitations. Moving forward, clinicians should consider technological interventions as viable options for optimizing the quality of patient-centered care.

Hank Bates - Applications of Polyvagal Theory in Clinical Practice and Treatment of Trauma 

Henry Bates

Polyvagal theory describes the role that the human vagus nerve plays in human social engagement and interaction. In order for humans to socially engage, they must assess the environment around them and determine that it is safe. The vagus nerve modulates the autonomic responses that cause mobilization, immobilization, or social engagement behaviors. While polyvagal theory has applications in everyday life, it is particularly important for medical professionals to have a thorough understanding of the principles of polyvagal theory. Previous research has shown that a patient’s feeling of safety increases adherence to care. While polyvagal theory is certainly important for bedside manner, it is also implicated in medical and therapeutic interventions. Several interventions that involve autonomic activation, such as dance movement therapy and energy psychology, are particularly impactful for treating patients who have undergone trauma. By learning more about polyvagal theory and the treatments that utilize its tenets, clinicians can offer alternative approaches to the treatment of various diseases


Grace Bradley - Implementing Patient Experience Advocates: Improving Hospital Patient ExperienceQuality of Care, Especially for People Who Have Lost Communication Abilities 

Grace Bradley

Serious ailments can cause a patient to lose their communication abilities, whether it is speaking, reading, or writing, or all three. Loss of one’s ability to communicate to others can be an extremely scary experience that leaves patients feeling incredibly vulnerable. Although hospitals already have translators or speech therapists available for patients, this is not enough to provide adequate and personalized healthcare (Montalt, 2007). Thus, hospitals worldwide should implement a patient experience advocate role to help patients who have lost their communication abilities to better improve their patients’ quality of care.

Patient experience advocates would be trained to be a liaison between patients, their family, and healthcare providers. Additionally, they would help the patient better understand their diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis by translating it to laypeople’s terms. Another healthcare team role can also help alleviate the burden of work healthcare providers have to do, preventing them from being spread too thin and burning out. In addition to helping prevent compassion fatigue in their healthcare team members, a patient experience advocate can help prevent instances of negligence or medical malpractice by tending to a patient’s wants and needs. This would then prevent potential comorbidities developed when at a hospital, thereby reducing costs of preventable tests and treatments, as well as negligence or malpractice lawsuits for patients and hospitals, respectively. For these reasons, further dissected below, patient experience advocates should be implemented as part of a hospital team to help improve
compassion and better personalized treatment in the healthcare system.


Grace Bronner - The Importance of Empathy and Systemic Reform to Mitigate Burnout in Emergency Medicine 

Grace Bronner

Emergency medicine physicians are particularly susceptible to experiencing burnout. Although emergency medicine is one of the most sought-after specialties for medical students to pursue, physicians within the field frequently report emotional exhaustion. It is a common misconception that this burnout stems directly from patient interaction, but this has been proven inaccurate from studies conducted on emergency medicine physicians. These studies have indicated that patient interaction is the main source of compassion satisfaction for these physicians, rather than compassion fatigue. This paper explains why empathy is a buffer against physician burnout from the lens of compassion science. Additionally, this comprehensive PubMed literature review evaluates the organizational factors that strongly contribute to the frustration experienced by emergency medicine physicians, along with potential solutions to these issues. One of the main problems in emergency departments is overcrowding, which can be broken down into input factors, flow factors, and outflow factors. Several strategies are currently being proposed to control the flow of patients through the emergency room in an efficient manner. It is imperative for healthcare networks to consider implementing these strategies to create an environment where physicians can provide compassionate care.



Hallie Buckner - The Physician-Patient Relationship and Pregnancy: Prenatal Visits, Labor and Delivery, and Postpartum Care 

Hallie Buckner

The relationship between an obstetrician and their patient during pregnancy is unique and develops as the patient attends their prenatal visits, culminates during labor and delivery, and concludes in this context with the postpartum visit. There is an absence of a similarly longitudinal study following the patient through each stage of pregnancy in the literature. An extensive literature review was conducted to examine the patient-physician relationship in each stage, as well as the impact that the patient’s attachment style, needs, and wants may have on the relationship. To supplement this review, two separate interviews with actively practicing OB-GYNs were conducted. Overall, the patient-physician relationship centers around counseling in prenatal care, shared decision-making during labor and delivery, and is very useful in determining cases of postpartum depression during the postpartum visit. Security and trust in this relationship is critical for its success.





Ava Butterbaugh - Physical Therapy the Exemplar: A Discussion of How Compassion is Rooted in the Culture of Physical Therapy

Ava Lily Butterbaugh

Physical therapy is a remarkable healthcare profession that embodies compassion. Ranging from the culture of the clinic, the physical therapy aides, to the physical therapist themselves, compassion and genuine care of the patient is present. This paper will examine the stages of the compassion science model and relate it to physical therapy. Physical therapy is a practice that demonstrates compassion science successfully and can inspire other health care practices to follow. Physical therapists are set apart from normal physicians through compassion-centered inspirations and motivates, the environment of the clinic and how it impacts patient interactions, the personal relationship of a physical therapist to the patient, and how the meaning of caring is executed in physical therapy and can be applied to all healthcare fields and industries. Physical therapy demonstrates that compassionate care as the center of healing is revolutionary.





Mary Castrigano - Infertility Among Female Physicians: How Compassionate Care in Medicine Can Be Used as a Coping Mechanism 

Mary Castrigano

Infertility is a very difficult, heartbreaking, and stressful experience for anyone who encounters it, and individuals and couples suffering from infertility are forced to take on a physical, emotional, and financial burden. Female physicians are almost twice as likely to suffer from infertility compared to the general population (Marshall et al., 2020). Although women are entering the medical field at a record-breaking pace, there is still a lack of education and awareness surrounding fertility issues. Fertility problems are associated with higher rates of burnout and mental health disorders among physicians, resulting in lower levels of career satisfaction. The increased rates of infertility observed in female physicians can also be attributed to misconceptions regarding the negative impact of pregnancy on one’s career trajectory and stigmatization surrounding pregnancy and motherhood in the medical field, leading women to delay childbearing. This paper constitutes the results of a comprehensive PubMed literature search of the topic to address these issues. To cope with the adverse effects of infertility, female physicians should practice compassionate care in medicine. Compassionate care in medicine is an approach to care that centers around practicing medicine through the lens of compassion. Compassionate care in medicine acts as a buffer against physician burnout, making it an effective coping mechanism for female physicians experiencing infertility. Along with compassionate care in medicine, it is recommended that hospitals implement practices that focus on supporting women who hope to start families. These practices include increased education, insurance coverage, and support for physicians dealing with fertility issues.


Natalie Christiansen - The Importance of Compassionate Care for Patients with PCOS and Endometriosis 

Natalie Christiansen

Diagnosing disorders which cause patients to present with few visible signs can be discouraging for patients and difficult for physicians. Diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting the reproductive system require extra consideration to the symptoms and unique hardships that come with gynecologic disorders. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis are two examples of such disorders which are difficult to diagnose. Presentation of symptoms from either of these disorders often prompt a long and arduous journey to a diagnosis. Furthermore, both of these disorders can cause major negative impacts on a woman's quality of life. One of the symptoms common to both of these disorders which calls for special attention is infertility. Clinicians who practice from the perspective of the “Clinician Compassion Mindset Process” can give their patients the best and most effective care. Compassionate care in diagnosis of cases of possible PCOS and/or endometriosis can lead to an expedited diagnostic process, increased perceptions of women that their conditions are taken seriously, and decreased negative outcomes associated with patients suffering from chronic pain. Compassionate caring in treatment of PCOS and/or endometriosis is crucial to help patients understand their condition, decrease psychological stress, and optimize patient quality of life especially as it relates to issues of fertility when accompanying patients.



Sarah Chong - The Relationship Between Perceived Clinical Compassion and Health Outcomes Across Population Subgroups in Post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan

Sarah Chong

Perceived clinical compassion is a key factor in health outcomes, healthcare cost, physician burnout, medical compliance, and population attitude towards healthcare systems (Roberts, Roberts, Mazarelli, & Trzeciak, 2021) As this measure is crucial to the physical and mental health of both physicians, investment in improving clinical compassion in global healthcare can provide immense benefits to low-income multi-ethnic countries. Clinical compassion has been shown to be a separate construct from measures of quality of care. Improving this score can improve the efficacy and ability for low-income countries to optimize usage of personal, funds, and technology. Despite the potential benefits there is little research on the relationship between clinical compassion and health outcomes in developing countries. (Roberts, Roberts, Mazarelli, & Trzeciak, 2021)






Brandon Chou - The Prevalence of Physician Burnout Across Medical Specialties and the Role of Compassion in Mitigating Its Effects 

Brandon Chou

Burnout is a pressing issue throughout the United States healthcare system and needs to be addressed. Technically speaking, it is a state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion brought on by extensive periods of stress. High levels of stress produce negative consequences at all levels, proving harmful to physicians and staff, patients and their families, and medical organizations. Without knowledge of appropriate buffer strategies and techniques, this problem of burnout will fester and grow, especially amidst a global pandemic like COVID-19. This study employs a literature review along with a survey component to assess the prevalence of physician burnout across medical specialties. Current solutions to burnout center around decreasing stress, improving work-life balance, and developing better relationships. However, recent research has discovered that an application of the science of compassion at every level of medical training and practice can significantly improve clinical well-being and patient care. The results of this study showcase that compassion satisfaction and hope are positively correlated, while both being negatively correlated with secondary traumatic stress (a tangential component to burnout). This is not to say that the pre-existing methods that many healthcare organizations utilize to help combat burnout should be ignored. Rather, this study explores how a fundamental shift in the way physicians approach medicine, specifically the physician-patient relationship, cultivates a culture of compassionate care that potentially results in better health outcomes for all.



Maryna Chuma - Compassionate Care in Adaptive Dentistry for Patients with Intellectual Disabilities 

Maryna Chuma

Access to dental care is a right every human should have. People with intellectual disabilities face tremendous barriers to care due to patients’ increased medical needs, dependence on caregivers, and a lack of resources or knowledge for dentists to provide care. Studies have shown that people with intellectual disabilities are “at a higher risk of caries and periodontal disease” due to these challenges in accessing oral health care (da Rosa, 2020, p.1). Increasing access to dental care for people with intellectual disabilities is critical as “significant improvements to oral health-related quality of life” have been reported after receiving dental treatment (Hillebrecht, 2019, p.1). When administering adaptive dental care, dentists must decide whether to place the patient under general anesthesia or use partial sedation and adaptive dental devices. In this paper, I will compare the two approaches to adaptive dental care and evaluate the implications of compassionate care from the perspective of the dentist, patient, and caregivers in each method. This paper constitutes the results of a comprehensive literature search of the topic to address these issues. Due to the uniqueness of the patient's health and understanding, making this decision should be made on a case by case basis, focusing on safety for the patient and dentist. In all, through conscious engagement with the clinical compassion mindset pathway and staying in tune with one’s philosophy of care, people with intellectual disabilities will access their rightful dental care and the dentists will provide that treatment through compassionate care.


Olivia Cole - Infertility Services: Applying the Science of Compassionate Care 

Olivia Cole

Infertility is an increasingly prevalent disease that affects nearly 10-15% of all trying-to-conceive couples in the United States. The causes are varied, ranging from male sperm abnormalities to female ovulatory dysfunction; however, each similarly results in the inability to conceive a child despite a year of consistent and timed unprotected sex. The short-term and long- term effects of infertility are quite extensive, encompassing a mixture of mental, emotional, physical, and social burdens for those affected. Patients often grapple with the potential loss of their life-long dream of becoming a parent while simultaneously wrestling with financial burdens for treatments that promise no guaranteed results. Physicians are rarely exempt from experiencing similar emotional responses to their patients' realities. Physicians may find themselves caught between a state of over-involvement in the lives of their patients or relative detachment from them, creating a clinical environment not suitable for the hope and compassion patients struggling with infertility deserve. Although the journey of an infertility diagnosis is uncertain and filled with many obstacles for both, a new science poses promising benefits for both patient and physician outcomes and satisfaction. The science of compassionate care in medicine defines the ability to feel with and the willingness to act to relieve another's suffering. This paper constitutes the results of a comprehensive PubMed literature search of compassion applied to infertility services, exploring various techniques and resources that will provide optimal infertility care from diagnosis to treatment plan. As challenges arise in the implementation of infertility services, ranging from same-sex couple discrimination to stigmatization and differing couple opinions, physicians are urged to implement compassion at the forefront of their care.

Liam Collins - Aiding in Return to Sports 

Liam Collins

Injuries are a common occurrence in sports, and they can have a brutal impact on an athlete. An injury can have several effects on an athlete, affecting things such as the athlete’s current athletic ability, plans for the future, and even identity since much of the athlete’s life revolves around the sport that he or she is participating in. The drastic changes in an athlete’s response typically elicit a psychosocial response from the athlete. This can commonly be expressed through an eagerness to rush return to sport as soon as possible, or through a fear of being re-injured. It is up to caretakers to work with the athlete, think about their desires, and help with a recovery plan that can take these desires into account but do so in a safe, successful way. When caring for an athlete, the model of balanced compassionate caring can be used to provide optimal care with the right level of emotional involvement. It is important to remember that there are many caretakers in an athlete’s life, with physicians, athletic trainers, coaches, teammates, family, friends, and psychologists all potentially having a role to play in the recovery process. Each of these roles has unique aspects to offer in the process of an injured athlete’s recovery, and the model of balanced compassionate caring can be applied to all of these roles in order to determine what optimal care may look like from each of them.


Callie Coors - Healing Communities: The Role of Public Libraries in Addressing Health Inequities 

Callie Coors

Despite spending roughly $4 trillion annually on healthcare in recent years, the United States grapples with the significant morbidity and mortality rates of various health conditions, including but not limited to heart disease, stroke, opioid addiction, infectious diseases, obesity, and diabetes. Exacerbating these issues, stark inequalities and distrust greatly persist in healthcare, leading to disproportionate rates of mortality, morbidity, and costs among vulnerable populations. The current state of healthcare highlights the urgent need for individuals and public institutions to take responsibility for addressing these multifaceted, pervasive issues. Public libraries are an excellent portrayal of how a public institution can have a positive impact on communities by providing valuable resources, services, and opportunities to people from diverse backgrounds. Alongside their far reaching impact, public libraries offer essential, free services and maintain a long-standing reputation for being trustworthy and reliable. These values of trust and reliability are vital when addressing the health needs of communities, especially vulnerable persons. This paper highlights public libraries' various responses to increasing disease rates and persisting disparities, specifically their promotion of health literacy, prevention, and implementation of possible treatment models. The programs implemented in various public libraries throughout the country are real-life examples of compassionate care at work. While many sources provide a clinical perspective to compassionate caring, specific principles can also be applied to the helping interactions between public library staff and patrons. The key components of compassionate caring discussed are: the balanced compassionate caring model, Polyvagal Theory, emotional intelligence competencies. It is through programs and the compassionate care that is practiced within them that libraries have the potential to emerge as formidable partners in promoting public health.

Abigail Cousins - Compassionate Care Throughout the Diagnostic Odyssey of Rare Disease Patients 

Abby Cousins

This paper explores the applications of compassion science to the unique experience of patients with a rare disease (one with fewer than 200,000 US patients). The journey is particularly taxing on patients and their families. This is due to a combination of factors, but in particular, rare diseases can be very isolating and leave patients’ families with the responsibility of being advocates and experts as they navigate the healthcare system. This is an opportunity for a compassionate physician to collaborate with other organizations (for example, education) in order to ease the burden. Compassion science applications also include when physicians make a misdiagnosis, as is especially common when the correct diagnosis is rare. Physicians have the responsibility to fully engage with their patients. They must take all the time neccessary to educate their rare disease patients as there is often little to no information available. Therefore, utilizing an adequate teaching strategy, such as the teachback method, is crucial. The way physicians communicate with their rare disease patients is very influential, and there are many strategies for this, including SPIKES. Overall, the research is very clear that physicians must beintentional with elevating the voices of their rare disease patients.



Shannon Culbert - Addressing the Challenges of Underrepresented Minority Women Physicians and its Impact on Compassionate Care 

Shannon Culbert

As the general U.S. population continues to diversify, there is a need for greater representation in healthcare. The number of underrepresented minority (URM) women physicians is steadily increasing but is still proportionately less than the general patient population. Increased representation in healthcare has been shown to increase health outcomes because patients that identify similarly with their physicians report better communication and increased trust. Similarly, women physicians tend to have improved relationships with patients which is often attributed to women physicians being more empathetic and patient. There is a significant benefit to maintaining and growing a diverse medical workforce. However, women
and minorities face various barriers to pursuing a career in medicine which can contribute to burnout and hinder the progress of underrepresented groups in medicine. The challenges that URM women face include but are not limited to gender and racial stereotypes, prejudice, and
discrimination. The challenges and stressors of being a woman and an URM are challenging independently but together can be even more difficult. Addressing the intersectionality of URM women physicians is important to understanding the needs of this group and improving their
situation. It is essential that healthcare organizations address the barriers that URM women physicians face in order to reduce burnout among current URM women physicians as well as increase the number of URM women physicians to promote greater diversity and representation in medicine.

Emma Danes - The Compassionate Care of Adolescent Parents: From Pregnancy to Parenthood 

Emma Danes

Adolescence is a vulnerable time of development that can become even more challenging when the possibility of parenthood is involved. There are many negative conceptions surrounding teenage pregnancy and parenthood, leading the adolescent to delay seeking care and the doctor to avoid conversations surrounding these topics. Implicit biases that adolescents are deviant or bad mothers can find their way into the exam room without the physician even being aware of it, poisoning the patient-clinician relationship. A lack of trust in the physician leads to a higher risk that adolescents will be inconsistent with their prenatal care and will not be satisfied with their choices. Physicians may also miss out on pertinent clinical information when there is no honest communication. Without compassionate and comprehensive care, adolescents and their children are more likely to have health issues, such as premature labor and birth defects, and to enter into the intergenerational cycle of teenage child-bearing. However, good quality prenatal care supplemented by a compassionate care mindset and a patient-centered approach can buffer against these negative effects. Protocols such as the SPIKES and BATHE techniques can guide clinicians on how to communicate effectively and compassionately. Additionally, teen-tot clinics have shown immense promise as a way to decrease adverse outcomes for the mother and her baby, as caring for them both helps to develop strong, trusting relationships. These interventions promote practical ways to emotionally and socially support adolescents, leading to more effective medical care.


Jessica Davis - #PizzaIsNotWorking: Burnout in Retail Pharmacy 

Jessica Davis

In January 2023, a surge of media outlets began circulating a story regarding the cutting of hours at big chain retail pharmacies, citing a pharmacist shortage as the reason for these changes. CEO of the American Pharmacists Association, Dr. Ilisa Bernstein, PharmD, refuted the claims made in these articles: “We need to stop blaming the current conditions on shortages, when it’s due to short-staffing and health care system faults.” The APA identified multiple factors contributing to stress in the workplace, including increased demands on pharmacists, employer focus on quotas, ceaseless interruptions or calls to insurance companies, and a lack of support for new COVID-19-related services. Concerns have been raised in regard to the unrealistic expectations of these metrics, as well as them being a major factor in increased medication errors and pharmacy burnout. On social media, the hashtag #PizzaIsNotWorking brings awareness to these workplace issues. Dr. Bled Tanoe, PharmD, created the hashtag toshow that pharmacy staff seeking far greater support in the workplace. Dr. Tanoe works to use her influence and the sharing of social media to inform and educate the general public on the truth of these issues. Dr. Ed Sheridan, Pharmacist and Ambulatory Care Residency Program Director at Saint Joseph Health System, insists on the necessity of a culture shift in pharmacy, in that the large pharmacy organizations must focus on and increase the value placed upon employee and patient safety. It is clear that #PizzaIsNotWorking, but there are strategies that can be implemented on a corporate level that will work to reduce burnout and protect patients. With the support from state and national organizations, all the way down through the corporate managements of community pharmacies to the individual pharmacies, it is possible to change the culture of pharmacy for the better.


David Dias - Exploring the Effects of Art Therapy Services and Compassionate Care Approaches in the Healthcare Profession 

David Dias

The healthcare profession is collectively made up of individuals seeking to provide the best care possible for the community around them. In order to serve in a more efficient way, it is vital that the healthiest relationships are created between the healthcare team and the patients.This is most effectively achieved when a compassionate caring mindset is placed at the center of healthcare. Healthcare providers may find it difficult to maintain this compassionate approach, ultimately leading to provider burnout and compassionate distress fatigue. This may also lead to worsened symptoms in a patient. Creative art therapy services such as visual art, music groups, dance/movement groups, and writing and poetry groups all offer an alternative approach to ameliorating the detrimental effects seen in provider burnout and in an unhealthy patient





Elizabeth D’sa - Work-Family Conflict in Female Surgeons

Elizabeth D Sa

Women have been integrated into the workforce for over fifty years, serving as the prototypical “working-mom” who is responsible for advancing her career and fulfilling the duties that come with being a wife and mother. However, the constant demands of her home and of her career can create an inter-role tension known as work-family conflict (WFC). Although affecting women across all industries, women in healthcare, particularly surgeons, are disproportionately affected by WFC, especially in comparison to their male counterparts. This paper explores how WFC influences a female surgeon’s career development, family dynamic, mental health, and ability to show compassion, and the literature highlights how WFC negatively impacts all four aspects. In their career, women tend to be more influenced by WFC which stunts their career early on despite being equally qualified as their male counterparts as well as their family life as they have lower rates of marriage, children, and marital satisfaction. Additionally, female surgeons are at higher risk of being diagnosed with depression and anxiety. These three factors negatively affect their ability to show compassion to themselves, their patients, and their families thus creating a vicious cycle of lack of compassion between work and home that is caused by WFC. However, things can be changed with institutional support, additional resources, and engaging in compassion techniques like mindfulness, as they can collectively help with supporting the female surgeon and her domestic duties while also aiding in finding harmony between these two roles.



Jack Fitzpatrick - Mental Health in Elite Athletics: A Look at Performance, Stressors, Injury & Recovery 

Jack Thomas Fitzpatrick

This capstone project aims to analyze the mental health aspects of elite athletes, specifically their performance, stressors, injuries, and recovery. In addition, the project relates these aspects to compassion science and how medical providers can incorporate this mindset and improve these athletes' care and mental health. Making a clear distinction between elite and non-elite athletes is essential when determining the relationship between psychological and physical health and how significant this distinction is. Developing strategies to treat athletes' mental conditions as seriously as their physical ones, managing their symptoms, and identifying the causes of the complex nature of elite athletes' mental health are all critical components to consider for the medical professionals treating these athletes. Turning these encounters with medical providers into a more compassionate style of caring will only benefit the athlete and the provider. A wide variety of sources were also analyzed throughout this capstone, including: a systematic narrative review, various journals, and a meditation analysis. Therefore, treating and caring for these elite athletes with a collaborative and compassionate approach will allow them to optimize their mental and physical performance in their respective sports.




Jake Fuehrmeyer - The Importance and Utility of a Compassion Mental State in Caregivers Assisting Families Grieving the Loss of Loved Ones 

Jake Fuehrmeyer

Grief is a natural human response to loss that can vary in type, duration, and significance based on culture, gender, spirituality, and many different factors. Health professionals experience grief many times during their career and often encounter families who suffer the loss of their loved ones. Therefore, it is important that those in healthcare utilize a compassion mental state when engaging and being with grief-stricken individuals. The compassion mental state requires the observation of suffering, the development of an empathic resonance toward that suffering, the desire to alleviate that suffering, and acting in accordance to that desire. The internal state of care providers for those experiencing the pain of grief involves regulation of emotions, acknowledgment of prior biases, and understanding of personal limitations. The external state of care providers involves more direct commitment towards learning the complexities of grief including the cultural and gender differences, grief in light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, and the kinds of practices that facilitate the proper treatment and care for those in the grieving process. These two domains, when active, enable healthcare professionals to bridge gaps, make connections, and offer healing and peace for people undergoing arguably one of the greatest pains in the human experience. The purpose of this paper is to elucidate the characteristics of compassionate care in medicine in the context of grief and incorporate various literature sources that support the synergistic processing of the two domains that come together to form a caring and compassionate helping professional.



Clarissa Fuentes - A Focus on Free Clinics: How the Application of the Science of Compassion Can Help Us Analyze Barriers to Medical Care and Improve the Quality of Care Received at Free Clinics

Clarissa Fuentes

Approximately 26 million people in the United States remain without health insurance, with an unknown proportion of individuals underinsured. While uninsured rates have been declining, reaching a historic 8% in 2022, minority patients remain disproportionately uninsured relative to their White counterparts. Many individuals equate health insurance to receiving quality healthcare; however, insurance coverage is only one component of access to quality healthcare. Unfortunately, there are many social barriers that can make receiving care a complicated process for the uninsured and underinsured populations. Free clinics function to reduce these barriers and make healthcare more accessible to these patient populations. Free clinics targeted at serving marginalized communities claim to treat their patients holistically with quality care. However, minority populations consistently receive lower-quality healthcare than their non-Hispanic White counterparts. To improve the quality of care for these patients, the science of compassion can be applied at free clinics. The science of compassion includes compassionate caring, which is the responsiveness in the caring clinician when they recognize that there is something particularly stressful or difficult for their patient, is motivated to change it, and empathetically responds to it.

By implementing the science of compassion at three levels: (1) Organization Level, (2) Healthcare Professional Level, and (3) Patient Level, free clinics can improve the care they provide their patients. Strategies such as implementing professional practice models, compassion language, compassionate care mindset, implicit bias training, prioritizing participation in free clinics during medical school, and utilizing interpreter services, can drastically improve free clinic’s implementation of delivering quality care. While some of the strategies must be implemented outside of the free clinics, such as in medical school and residency, they can still be extremely powerful. Overall, compassionate care at the center of healthcare enables the optimal and most efficient use of medications, procedures, and technology, which will help the free clinics.

Caroline Gillen - Compassionate Care through End-of-Life Decisions 

Caroline Gillen

Discussions regarding end-of-life are an important and pertinent part of healthcare, and it is crucial for physicians to approach these conversations in an appropriate and effective manner. Data reveals that the current state of EOL care is flawed with reported low levels of patient satisfaction. This issue arises from inadequate training in medical schools, physicians not taking initiative to have EOL conversations, and a lack of transparency during prognosis. In order to assess how EOL care can be improved, different strategies are analyzed that optimize communication efficacy as well as focused on having empathy. Because EOL care is not exclusive to a certain patient demographic, physicians must know the best approached in varying cases. Burnout is a prominent concern for physicians who frequently care for terminally ill patients. Positive framing and Schwartz Rounds are found to decrease burnout and emotional distress. While physicians often avoid EOL discussions to not cause distress to the patient, research indicates that patient distress and fears decrease after having honest EOL conversations with their physician. Because compassionate care looks to mitigate patient distress, compassion in end-of-life care requires physicians to take initiative, be transparent, and have empathetic conversations.

Isabella Gomez - Elucidating the Impact of Medical Social Workers on Compassionate Care in Medicine 

Isabella Gomez

The present research project aimed to elucidate the role, contributions, and impact of clinical social workers to compassionate care in medicine. The study focused on exploring the existing literature on how clinical social workers are trained under a biopsychosocial framework to understand and address the social determinants of health of patients. Research findings suggest that the integration of this allied health professional into the care team has the potential to improve clinical outcomes, elevate the patient experience, reduce physician burnout rates, and enhance cost-efficiency and productivity for health institutions. Clinical social workers work collaboratively in a multi-disciplinary healthcare team to provide comprehensive, patient-centered care that contemplates the whole person—including their social, economic, cultural, psychological, and clinical needs. They act as patient navigators through the challenges of a complex healthcare system, advocate for patient rights, and provide emotional support and counseling. Connecting patients to community resources, as well as delivering a variety of individualized services and specialized interventions have been shown to uplift patients and allow them to not only be cared for, but feel cared for, as they work towards improving their health. Ultimately, clinical social workers become active participants in the delivery of evidence-based, patient-centered medicine that is grounded in the science of compassion. In ameliorating the effects of the social determinants of health, social workers provide high-quality care that is concordant with the realities that patients face and honors their physical, emotional, and social needs while advocating for the resolution of their hardships. The results of this research project highlight the significant role that clinical social workers play in interdisciplinary health practices and emphasize the importance of their integration in the care team.

Annie Gordon - The Impact and Necessity of Compassionate Care Towards Chronic Pain Patients  

Annie Gordon

Chronic pain is alarmingly prevalent and impactful to many Americans. According to a 2016 analysis by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it was estimated that 20.4% of adults in the United States had chronic pain, amounting to approximately 50 million individuals. Chronic pain impacts the individual not only physically, but also psychologically, financially, and socially. The personal, unique nature of the chronic pain experience and the subjectivity of pain necessitates a further look into the best way for healthcare professionals to care for patients suffering from chronic pain. A comprehensive PUBMED facilitated literature review was performed. The research suggests there is a unique need for compassion in pain medicine, and there are documented positive consequences in both patient satisfaction and clinical outcomes when a chronic pain patient is treated with compassion. When a patient feels like their clinician understands and care about them, the patient is able to better communicate their symptoms and connect, leading to feelings of validation and effective treatments. Additionally, it was found that there is a need for clinicians to seek out safe, individualized, and effective treatments for pain. Lastly, studies show that there is a lack of compassion currently in pain medicine, but compassion can be learned, calling for more emphasis to be placed on compassion and empathy throughout medical training.




Rachel Gutierrez - Assessing Medical Mistrust Amongst Historically Underserved Populations:

Working Towards a Comprehensive Approach to Dismantle It 

Rachel Gutierrez

The issue of medical mistrust in minority communities is convoluted and multifaceted and it deserves attention from researchers as it continues to affect individuals seeking healthcare. Medical mistrust contributes to the ongoing racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare. These disparities can stem from individual biases or discrimination by healthcare providers, or systemic issues like inadequate medical data and testing. Addressing these disparities requires attention to both individual and systemic factors. System-level solutions could involve building more appropriate population-based data for testing, treatments, and diagnosis, while individual-level strategies could involve compassionate care practices to build trust in physician/patient relationships. Ultimately, addressing medical mistrust requires a holistic approach that considers broader systemic concerns, promotes social justice in healthcare by empowering communities, and encourages healthcare practitioners to cultivate strong relationships with their patie





Kaiya Hansen - The Model of Balanced Compassionate Caring as Presented in Grey’s Anatomy 

Kaiya Hansen

Grey’s Anatomy is a medical drama that continues to strike viewers with contemporary plot lines, surgical heroes, puzzling medical cases, and relatable personal life challenges. Aside from the drama of friendships and romance, the clinician-patient interactions in Grey’s Anatomy exemplify the range of compassionate caring from the detached clinician to the overinvolved. Using the model of balanced compassionate caring, this series exemplifies the spectrum of clinician-patient interactions at each level of emotional involvement. Negative and neutral emotional involvement is shown through hostile comments or emotional disengagement. Emotional overinvolvement can be depicted through physicians overstepping their role. The zone of compassionate caring is exemplified through establishing appropriate and healthy boundaries. Through analysis of various scenes, Grey’s Anatomy demonstrates each level of physician emotional involvement, meanwhile illustrating the effects on both the physician and the patient. Although its portrayals of compassion and physicians are not always accurate, Grey’s Anatomy depicts the challenges clinicians face both personally and professionally, shedding light on physicians as people.




Uriel Ibarra - Compassionate Care for the Latino Male Population Through Cultural Competency: An Analysis on the Major Factors That Influence Negative Perceptions on Healthcare 

Uriel Ibarra

With cardiovascular disease as the leading cause of death for the Latino male population in the United States, it is incumbent for men to engage in preventative health measures. However, several factors prevent and dissuade Latino men from accessing and seeking health care. Medical mistrust and negative perceptions driven by cultural elements deter Latino men away from medical care. Additionally, there are many barriers to health care that also make healthcare access even more difficult. In this paper, based on a comprehensive literature search, I highlight the perceptions of health care by the Latino male population and the cultural factors that drive those perceptions. Additionally, I discuss the major motivators and barriers to healthcare-seeking behaviors. Furthermore, I include an overview of the aspects of healthcare interactions that are both positive and negative to
inspect the current state of medicine through the eyes of Latino men. Ultimately, I outline methods to improve primary care practices for the Latino male population. Cultural competency is critical for the proper execution of these practices and is rooted in the science of compassion. Lastly, an analysis of the Sister Maura Brannick Clinic in South Bend, Indiana is included, as they are already taking great strides in serving the surrounding Latino population

Iain Jahns - The Essential Role of Compassionate Care in Supporting Underserved Patients Living with Diabetes 

Iain Jahns

Chronic illnesses are often much more difficult to manage than acute conditions as they present many unique challenges that prevent patients from receiving ideal care. In the case of diabetes and other chronic illnesses like it, patients are forced to drastically alter their daily routines as they become their own primary care givers in managing their condition. While incredible advancements in diabetes-related technology and care have been made in recent decades, many diabetics continue to struggle in accessing complete care for managing their life-long diagnosis. Research suggests that the most common barriers diabetics face in achieving ideal care include the financial burdens, lack of patient-education, inadequate support networks, and geographical challenges that often stem from their condition. With these common obstacles in mind, this paper aims to identify ways in which the science of compassion can be applied to diabetes care to help both physicians and patients better manage the condition and live higher qualities of life as a result. Applying the balanced model of compassionate caring and using patient-centered interviews are two key concepts of compassionate care that physicians can utilize to assist diabetic patients in properly caring for


Caroline Kaczmarek -  Across the Pond: A Comparison of Addiction Between the United States and United Kingdom 

Caroline Kaczmarek

Addiction is a societal problem that reaches every part of an addicted person’s life and wreaks havoc upon it. As it is a complex and individualized problem, diagnosis, treatment, and recovery are different for every addicted person and care must be of high quality for recovery to succeed. This high-quality care must be compassionate, holistic, and realistic while combining multiple avenues of therapy. While addiction is a problem for every country in the world, this paper compares the United States and the United Kingdom in their approaches to separate but similarly concerning problems of addiction. Although both have populations with high rates of addiction and low rates of addicted people in treatment and recovery, the United States appears to have higher rates of addiction and less success in recovery efforts.






Margaret Kelly - The Importance of Implementing a Positive Mindset Rooted in Compassion for Informal Caregivers of Individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease 

Maggie Kelly

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that results cognitive impairment of those afflicted. The disease will progress until individual becomes disoriented and loses the ability to perform activities of daily living, requiring the help of a caregiver. The majority of Alzheimer’s caregivers are informal, meaning they have a personal relationship to the care-recipient, and experience significant financial, physical, and emotional stress due to their roles. This stress eventually manifests as caregiver burnout, which consists of depersonalization, emotional exhaustion, and lack of feelings of accomplishment. In order to combat the effects of burnout, caregivers must implement a mental framework that focuses on three positive aspects of caring: their relationship to the care-recipient, a sense of self-efficacy, and a deeper meaning of their role. In addition to adopting this mindset, caregivers should exhibit compassionate love when providing care. Compassion can be acquired via mind training processes and maintained by setting personal boundaries and practicing self-care. This can include personal habits like practicing yoga or even utilizing respite care. When informal caregivers achieve a compassion mental state, they will minimize the effects of caregiver burnout and may actually have greater levels of positive affect as well as decreased mortality.




Madeline Kling - Compassionate Care in the Field of Pediatrics: Exploring the Relationship Among Burnout, Compassion Fatigue, and Compassion Satisfaction 

Madeline Kling

This capstone paper is a review of a variety of research articles and studies focused on concepts including burnout, compassion fatigue, and compassion satisfaction and how they relate to compassionate care in medicine, particularly in pediatric fields. The goal of exploring and compiling these research studies is to gain a better understanding of how they are connected, how burnout and compassion fatigue can be prevented, and how compassion satisfaction can be increased. This is necessary to study in order to understand how the internal states of healthcare professionals, including pediatricians and pediatric specialists, are affected by burnout, compassion fatigue, and compassion satisfaction. By analyzing twenty-one sources, many of which are case studies, one can clearly see the various effects of burnout, compassion fatigue, and compassion satisfaction in the field of pediatrics. More research is needed in the future to learn more about how these ideas can best contribute to compassionate care in pediatric specialties.




Janna Kosten - Decency for the Delirious: Compassionate Care and Delirium in Geriatric Patient 

Janna Kotsen

As the proportion of the United States population that is over the age of 65 continues to rise, compassionate and efficient healthcare for the elderly will become a necessity. About a third of elderly patients experience a severe mental impairment known as delirium, and the rates tend to be even higher for those in a hospital setting. For a very long time, people would chalk the symptoms of delirium up to old age, not knowing that there are many methods of treatment and prevention available. Despite now being more aware of how to help a geriatric patient with delirium, many patients are still left undiagnosed and untreated, resulting in longer hospital stays, higher medical expenses, and possibly even death. During my time working with a delirium prevention program referred to as the Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP), I was given the opportunity to see first hand just how serious delirium can be. In order to learn more about ways to treat and prevent delirium in a compassionate manner I conducted an extensive review on the available literature pertaining to delirium in hospitalized geriatric patients. Based on my findings, I concluded that a compassionate mindset is a key ingredient to facilitate the prevention of these delirium cases and avoidance of possible burnout. With the attentiveness and patient-physician relationship that is necessary to provide compassionate care, a physician will be much more in tune with possible fluctuations in the patient’s cognitive level. Future ways to better integrate this compassion into treating elderly with delirium will be explored.


Abigail Lanz - The Role of Compassionate Science in the Treatment of Eating Disorders 

Abigail Lanz

While eating disorders are not the most prevalent DSM-5 recognized mental disorder, they have the highest mortality rate and an extremely high relapse rate. Therapies for these disorders struggle to be effective given the complex and not well understood nature of these disorders, leaving space and hope for improvement in future developments in this realm of research. Current treatments center mainly around psychotherapies including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Family-Based Therapy, with two FDA-approved pharmacological therapies that were recently developed. Research on what individuals who had undergone eating disorder treatment had found most helpful in their recovery combined with the growing field of compassion science suggests that the application of compassion science through Compassion Focused Therapy as well as emphasis on fostering compassionate relationships between healthcare professionals and patients will improve patient outcomes and contribute to higher success in existing therapeutic measures.
Polyvagal theory and the known autonomic dysregulation associated with eating disorder suggest that ventral vagal activation could present a new path for eating disorder therapy. Compassion science also presents solutions for the growing problem of compassion fatigue in healthcare professionals who treat eating disorders. Learning to practice balanced compassionate care, building stronger support systems within the workplace, and practicing a variety of self-care techniques to create a holistic restoration routine lower risk for compassion fatigue among healthcare professionals. This paper constitutes the results of a comprehensive PubMed literature search of the topic to address these issues.

Maggie Latham - Compassionate Care in Eating Disorder Treatment 

Maggie Latham

Eating disorders require the use of compassionate caring by physicians, but there are often barriers to this care that need to be addressed in order for success in treatment. Many adolescents and children are affected by one of the main eating disorders: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. The causes and perpetuating factors of these disorders vary greatly and could include societal factors, peers, family, personal struggles, and the media. Barriers to effective treatment could be any of these factors, the egosyntonic nature of the disorder, fear of judgement, or the physicians own distress over treating these patients. This paper constitutes the results of a comprehensive Pubmed literature search of the topic to address these issues. Physicians should utilize compassionate care techniques to overcome these barriers and provide a trusting physician-patient relationship where they can support the patient as he or she needs in such a vulnerable and emotional time.




Hazel Lee - The Comparison of the South Korean, United States and United Kingdom Healthcare Systems 

Hazel Lee

There is a plethora of healthcare systems in the world. During the times of strife and turmoil caused by COVID-19, we were able to witness the strengths and limitations of all these healthcare systems. This paper will primarily focus on dissecting the strengths and limitations in three healthcare systems: the American, Korean and United Kingdoms. It is beneficial to compare these three systems because they have strikingly different characteristics and constructed varied models from one another. This paper constitutes the results of a comprehensive Pubmed literature search of the topic to address these issues. Whilst comparing the strengths and weaknesses of the Korean, American and United Kingdom healthcare systems, we will also inspect how compassion has been integrated into each of these three systems





John Paul Lewis - Every Little Thing Matters: Effective Communication Skills For Surgeons Performing Life-altering Non-elective and Emergency Surgeries 

John Paul Lewis

Developing effective communication skills is paramount for surgeons performing non-elective, life-altering preplanned or emergency surgeries. A surgeon’s ability to connect with their patients and develop a relationship of trust if given the opportunity will pay dividends as the surgical process unfolds. Not only is it important to build relationships with the patient, but an operating surgeon should also take the time to develop a similar relationship with the patient’s family members as they may be the primary point of contact at various points throughout the surgical process. A surgeon’s first priority for patients undergoing emergency surgery is to save their life, if the opportunity presents itself in less time sensitive situations, surgeons performing non-elective surgeries can enhance patient outcomes by working to improve first impressions with patients, ensuring patients and their families have a strong understanding of the upcoming medical procedure, and maintaining a supportive relationship with their patient post-surgery as they adjust to a new way of life. While the hope is that every patient survives their non-elective surgery, inevitably some will not. When this happens, non-elective surgeons must shift their focus from the patient to the patient’s family. Surgeons performing non-elective surgeries can improve the surgical experience of family members of a deceased patient by developing effective skills to deliver bad news and working with them to process emotions, no matter how long it takes or how many times different pieces of information must be repeated.

Scott Lucitt - A Systemic Review of the Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program Through a Lens of Compassion 

Scott Lucitt

Homeless populations have consistently worse health outcomes than the general population, and in some cases, these result from disease that is avoidable and treatable with proper care. While the impact of the mental and physical trauma endured by the homeless population cannot go
overlooked, a more compassionate approach from physicians is sure to improve the well being of this population. Compassion science is a newly developing field which objectively examines the impact of compassion on patients and health care providers. Findings of compassion science give
a strong argument for certain compassion-based interventions that physicians and organizations can use to better provide care. Even though the Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program was founded long before compassion science, it exhibits many practices backed by compassion
research, explaining why manner regard it as one of the national models for how to provide healthcare to the homeless. In this systemic review, the strengths of the Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program will be framed in context of compassion science and an overall critique of the organization will be given.

Claire Mahoney - Musical Healing: Perception of Music Therapy Among Healthcare Professionals 

Claire Mahoney

Music therapy uses evidence-based musical interventions to reduce symptoms and address specific therapeutic goals. Music therapy can be used for a variety of conditions including, cardiac conditions, depression, autism, substance abuse, and Alzheimer's disease. However, patients face significant barriers to accessing music therapy. There is substantial literature documenting the benefits of music therapy, but it is unclear why patients struggle to access music therapy. To understand the inaccessibility of music therapy, it is necessary to explore the perceptions of music therapy and the barriers to music therapy. Using a 20-question survey distributed to healthcare professionals in Indiana, this study aims to increase awareness of music therapy, establish the prevalence of musical interventions in clinical settings, investigate the perception of music therapy for healthcare professionals, and understand the common barriers for accessing music therapy. The responses of 43 participants illustrated a positive attitude towards music therapy and an openness to learning more about music, but there was a general lack of understanding about music therapy. The respondents also identified insufficient music therapy providers as a barrier to care. These results highlight an opportunity for the Indiana music therapy community to educate healthcare professionals about the benefits of music therapy, the music therapy resources in the area, and the referral process for music therapy.


Alexandra Matarazzo - Compassionate Caring Implications and Applications in Elective Cosmetic Plastic Surgery 

Alexandra Matarazzo

Compassionate caring is a growing science in the medical field, but it is not as prominent across certain specialties, especially in surgery. In this paper, I define the science behind compassionate caring and explore its benefits. I explain why it is significantly important in elective cosmetic surgery through patient studies and demonstrate ways to apply it using the Five Gap Theory of service quality. By using certain techniques, surgeons have a greater understanding of a patient’s motivations and emotions behind desiring a surgery, resulting in more clients and better patient outcomes. I explore how the idea of consumerism affects this medical field, specifically through online patient reviews. I found that surgeons are overestimating the negative effects of online reviews and changing their behaviors in patient interactions when they should instead be focusing on the positive reviews or strengthening in-person relationships with patients. Finally, I explain the benefits of using compassionate care in this type of surgical field such as resulting in lower malpractice claims and higher patient satisfaction

Ella McComis - Untangling Compassion and Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia:
Compassion’s Role in Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide’s and Euthanasia’s Effects on Compassionate Care 

Ella Marie Mccomis

Despite the benefits of compassionate care, such as improved patient care and bufferingagainst physician burnout, being known, it is unclear how certain factors, such as medical-aid-in-dying (MAID), may affect a physician’s compassion and overall well-being. Medical-aid-in-dying, specifically physician-assisted suicide (PAS) and euthanasia, is becoming a huge topic of discussion. A comprehensive PUBMED facilitated review of current literature to address this topic was performed.This review revealed that as more physicians practice these methods and more jurisdictions legalize them, it isimportant to study their effects on the physicians who partake in them. This paper examines how compassion is interwoven in the practices of physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia and the effects that these practices have on those physicians that participate in them. Whether physicians participate in medical-aid-in-dying or are against it, compassion is involved in both. While these practices do meet the patient’s needs and relieve suffering, they can harm the physician. After practicing physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia, some physicians have reported feelings of loss (Van Marwijk et al., 2007), powerlessness (Stevens, 2006), and conflict of duty (Evenblij et al., 2019). As a result, physicians may be burdened by their own moral distress, which can contribute to burnout. To address the effect that physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia have on physicians, physicians should pursue alternatives to these medical-aid-in-dying practices. Palliative care and hospice care, when delivered effectively, address the patient’s needs through comfort and pain relief while minimizing the strain on moral distress that physicians face when interacting with terminal patients who are suffering greatly.

Garrett McFadden - A Friendly Face Can Make All the Difference: An Analysis of the Impact of Nonverbal Cues on the Patient-Clinician Interaction through the Lens of Polyvagal Theory 

Garrett Mcfadden

The patient-clinician relationship is a partnership which has been studied for decades as doctors attempt to determine the best way to compassionately communicate with their patients to provide them optimal care. Although much emphasis is placed on attempting to discern the verbal components of the interview which impact proper care, the nonverbal components are equally essential. The present paper serves as a review of many reports regarding the importance of nonverbal behavior on the clinician patient interaction. The ideas of Polyvagal Theory are used to complement these findings, showing that nonverbal behaviors allow for better patient outcomes due to the patient’s comfort with their physician. Finally, several potential applications of knowledge regarding nonverbal behaviors are explored, demonstrating its application to not only the medical field, but to the world as a whole.





Ellie Meara - The Paradigm of Compassion in the Context of Homelessness: Homeless individuals require a unique set of healthcare needs 

Ellie Meara

Homelessness is a complex social issue that plagues numerous individuals, making them vulnerable to disease, inequity, and death. This population has a higher prevalence of mental disorders, substance abuse, and chronic homelessness. However, many programs struggle with how to approach and ameliorate homelessness. This paper will outline how the use of compassion and accompaniment with structured support networks, as seen with Boston Healthcare for the Homeless, creates tangible change. A comprehensive literature search was performed to address these issues. 

Patricia Miller - A Pharmacist’s Role in the Expansion of Preventative Medicine in Rural Underserved Populations 

Patricia Marie Miller

Preventative medicine continues to grow in importance as the population of the United States ages and the rates of diet-related chronic illnesses increase. The majority of preventative medicine occurs outside of the clinic in the form of self-care which includes lifestyle changes such as improved diet, increased exercise, and disease state monitoring (cancer screening, blood pressure checks, blood-glucose monitoring, etc.). Self-care is especially hard to implement for people who live in rural/underserved areas who experience financial, transportational, cultural, and educational barriers to accessing healthcare and self-care resources. In order to bridge this gap, pharmacists play a vital role in encouraging self-care among these populations. Both ambulatory care and community pharmacists are ideally situated to bring self-care awareness to rural/underserved communities due to their accessibility, increased amount of time they can spend with patients, their training in motivational interviewing, and their ability to design new self-care initiatives. One such initiative currently showing promise in the clinic is the Food Pharmacy. In this program, patients can receive a “prescription” to obtain fresh fruits and vegetables to improve their weight, diabetes, or hypertension. The Food Prescription Program’s focus on providing participants with nutritious food improves upon the weaknesses of existing nutrition assistance programs such as SNAP. A comprehensive Literature search was conducted to address these issues and the findings are presented accordingly.

Genie Miraglia - Burnout in Emergency Medicine Physicians: Why is it so high, and where do we go from here? 

Genie Miraglia

Emergency Medicine physicians experience some of the highest rates of burnout across all specialties. Despite this, they still have higher than average rates of satisfaction in their choice to become a physician as well as in their specialty. This dichotomy, of having above average rates of burnout, but below average rates of regret, means that something significant is occurring within the field of emergency medicine, beyond the physicians themselves, that is negatively affecting those within the field. Nationwide trends and factors relating to emergency medicine, including increasing number of patient visits, decreasing number of emergency rooms, and the understaffing of these departments, create a system that is increasingly detrimental for physician and patient health, well-being, and performance of excellent medicine. As emergency medicine physicians are often the front line of the American Healthcare system, it is imperative that this dichotomy is improved upon. Over the course of this paper, the effects of these systemic factors will be discussed, as well as possible strategies to alleviate them. Additionally, compassion science methods and communication skills will be introduced as potential buffers for burnout. Due to the volume and variety of patients that emergency medicine physicians treat, the potential for improvement and positive impact is infinite.



Elizabeth Molyneaux - An Exploration of the Male Nurse Experience and the Barriers and Pathways of Compassionate Care 

Ellie Molyneaux

Nursing is a gendered profession, with females being the primary employees and femininity as the expected undercurrent of effective care. Societal norms and gender roles tell us that feminine attributes are associated with emotions and nurturance, making them the “ideal nurse.” This creates a barrier for men to enter into this profession because they do not fit the gendered nursing framework, and there seem to be certain expectations for men that differ from those of females. Male nurses are expected to take on “masculine” tasks and are assumed to be less emotional and empathetic because those are not masculine traits. Among many gendered characteristics, empathy seems to be strongly attached to women and is very closely integrated into the nursing profession. Studies indicate that the assumed connection between gender and empathy may not be as strong. Furthermore, emotional intelligence is a feminized yet essential component of nursing and is required for compassionate care as well. However, research suggests that emotional intelligence is not determined by gender but by experience, which indicates that it may be something that can be learned. Because men are in the minority in the nursing occupation, they stand out quite easily among their female counterparts. This creates advantages regarding leadership opportunities and exposure for their successes, but it also puts them under a microscope and allows them to be easily scrutinized. Not only is there a need for better representation of men in nursing, but there also may be aspects attributed to masculinity that enhance nursing skills, such as leadership and assertiveness as a way to advocate for patients. Males in the nursing profession have many barriers to overcome, and there is a need for further research regarding the experiences of male nurses within a female-dominated environment.

Erin O’Callaghan - Comparison of the Role of Compassion in Maternal Care Practices in the United States and the Republic of Ireland 

Erin O'Callaghan

Despite its status as a developed and medically advanced country, the United States continues to face rising maternal mortality rates (MMR). Ireland shares America’s status as developed and medically advanced, yet produces an MMR of zero. This paper is focused on identifying differences in maternal care practices and policies in the United States and Ireland through the lens of compassionate care in medicine with the aim of determining why American maternal outcomes are significantly worse than those of Ireland. Major discrepancies were identified in delivery of care, cost of perinatal care, and the integration of compassion in obstetric practices. The United States also proved to have major issues related to discrimination
of expectant mothers based on race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, but demographic differences between these two nations made this factor difficult to compare. Ireland offers a public healthcare scheme which provides free antenatal care to all Irish expectant mothers and is directed by midwives. The United States lacks universal healthcare coverage and the out-of-pocket costs of prenatal care, labor and delivery, and postpartum care are exorbitant even with insurance. Further, most women deliver their babies in hospital-settings under the direction of physicians. Analysis of the systematic differences between the American and Irish maternity care systems revealed a stark disparity in the underlying role of compassion in antenatal care between these two nations. This paper constitutes the results of a comprehensive Pubmed literature search of the topic to address these issues. The proposed solutions to this crisis using Ireland as an exemplar are increased options for community-based, midwife-directed care; educational and cultural changes designed to help clinicians recognize their own biases in order to decrease discrimination of mothers; and explicit training in the skills of compassionate care in medicine including emotion recognition and patient-centered interviewing.

Lilly Olsick - Caring for Medically Complex Children and Their Families Using the Family-Centered Approach Method 

Lily Olsick

Children who are medically complex provide considerable challenges for families, healthcare professionals, and the healthcare system. Current healthcare delivery models might not be able to effectively meet the complex needs of these patients, which is why there is a high demand for institutions to develop new complex care programs. A definitional framework should be included in care programs to help describe what it means to be medically complex and to guide professionals to understand all of their needs. Parents and healthcare professionals share similar struggles when caring for children who are medically complex. All of these challenges, however, can be overcome by adjusting one's lifestyle to accommodate the child. A good place to start improving the delivery of care for children who are medically complex is implementing a family-centered approach model. This model improves the patient’s and family’s experience with health care. It also reduces stress, enhances communication, reduces conflict, and most importantly, it improves the medical outcome of the child. Initiatives are already in place andthere seems to be a significant improvement to the child’s delivery of care.

Isabel Ortiz - Review of the Literature Concerning the Impact of Communication Training and Clinician Internal Attitudes on Improving the Patient Experience 

Isabel Ortiz

 One of the most vital aspects of compassionate care is the ability to deliver patient-centered communication. Physicians must possess this skill to positively impact their patient’s experience, which encompasses a broad range of factors encountered throughout the continuum of care. This
paper will focus on four different aspects of the patient experience, each unique while being intricately connected: satisfaction, perception, adherence, and outcome. To provide the best delivery of care, communication skills must be honed and conveyed in the context of empathy. To
do this, a clinician must have a positive internal attitude: a balanced mindset that places the delivery of compassionate care at the heart of every interaction and recognizes the importance of developing these skills. This can be threatened when medical students and physicians alike dismiss
the value of communication and empathy skills. This paper is a review of the literature that shows compassionate communication not only has a positive effect on patient satisfaction, perception, adherence, and outcome, but is also a skill that can be taught and improved. An adjustment of
internal attitudes and an implementation of more communication and empathy training courses for medical students is necessary to develop the next generation of compassionate caregivers.

Camille Patton - Addressing Systemic Racism in Obstetric Health through Compassionate Care in Supportive Roles

Camille Patton

The purpose of this paper is to address the impact of compassionate care on racial disparities within the obstetric field in the United States. With up to 10% of patient premature mortality being due to shortfalls of medical care, the differences in mortality among childbearing patients and their infants indicates unacceptable differences in medical care due to obstetric racism. To address these differences and contribute to creating a compassionate care experience for all patients, the availability and capacity of doula programs should be increased in communities of color to provide opportunities for professional accompaniment, education, and care. Models for this care are present in Minnesota, North Carolina, and New York; however, they are not without challenges of integrating holistic care into biomedical systems.

Madeline Phillips - The Compassionate Care of Art Therapy: A Form of Therapeutic Care for Children in Hospitals 

Madeline Philliips

Hospitals can be a challenging environment for any individual causing anxiety, stress and many other negative emotions due to the circumstances. Statistics prove that almost 90% of children will experience some form of psychological distress during their hospital experience. A technique to help alleviate these symptoms and is implemented in over 50% of the hospitals around the United States is art therapy. Art making in general has been a helpful tool that fosters creativity to express one’s ideas, try new things and experiment with materials. Developed formally in the 20th century, art therapy has expanded and utilizes a variety of techniques, to help individuals cope with various ailments. More recently, compassion science is a newly researched field on best practices on how to provide sustainable care for the sick. This paper will outline artherapy as a healing instrument for children in hospitals. It will also introduce the topic of compassion science and how it can properly be implemented into art therapy by the art therapist. Additionally, this paper will also address a specific form of art therapy, Compassion Focused Art Therapy as a cutting-edge form of art therapy, that through the cultivation of self-compassion, can alleviate many of the symptoms of anxiety and stress children face. This paper constitutes the results of a comprehensive literature search of the topic in addition to interviews of an art therapist to address these issues.

Ely Rodriguez - Compassionate Care and Anti-Racism: The key to physician burnout reduction and addressing racial and ethnic health disparities in the United States 

Elizabeth Rodriguez

In United States healthcare, racial and ethnic disparities present lower health outcomes for minority communities through systemic inequities. Although systemic barriers hold much resistance for change, there is a potential solution that mutually benefits physicians as well as patients of underrepresented communities. Compassionate care is the practice of providing emotionally balanced, honest, and empathic assistance to those who are suffering. Its practice can decrease physician burnout and simultaneously be the basis for addressing racial biases in medicine. This paper discusses how varies instances of racial and ethnic discrimination have resulted in negative health outcomes of unrepresented communities both in history and today.

A comprehensive PUBMED facilitated literature search was performed to address these issues and the results will be presented.To encourage genuine care and productive conversations about race in medicine, compassionate care is key to master so medical providers can improve patient relationships and address systemic issues in a balanced manner. This will also aid in reduction of physician burnout. Three solutions are presented to aid the implementation of compassionate care and improve health of underrepresented communities: 1) presenting skin tone diversity in anatomical figures, 2) increased representation in research, and 3) use of inclusive language. Presenting a historical context of how US healthcare has failed underrepresented communities in many ways, physicians can best understand the importance of compassionate care in a sense separate from personal gain. In all, compassionate care provides a concrete and manageable attempt to address health disparities while still benefiting providers themselves.

Kylie Salvino - The Importance of Compassionate Care in Global Health 

Kylie Salvino

As global healthcare becomes an increasingly relevant field, it is clear that compassionate care must be foundational in order to provide successful and sustainable global healthcare. Therefore, future research into the importance of compassionate care in global health is critical, and there are clear disadvantages to both providers and patients if compassion is neglected. However, there are several barriers to providing compassionate care that are unique to global health. This paper identifies two broad categories of challenges. The first category, internal (clinician-centered) challenges, includes 1) burnout and fatigue, 2) compassionately caring at a distance, 3) perfectionism and desire to save the world, and 4) lack of self-compassion. The second category, external (patient- or environment-centered) challenges, includes 1) culture and spirituality, 2) how patients and cultures view providers, and 3) organizational and systemic factors. To address these challenges, this paper identifies several practical methods that include returning to the foundation of compassion, focusing on self-compassion, educating professionals on the science of compassion, and addressing the organizational factors. This research proposes that compassionate care in global health is a relevant and necessary area of future research for the sake of global health providers and patients around the world.


Matthew Scheller - Physician Work-Life Balance and Compassionate Care 

Matthew Scheller

One of the ultimate goals of healthcare professionals should be to provide quality, compassionate care to all their patients. Recent research has shown that healthcare professionals can be more prone to unsatisfactory work-life balance and burnout than the average American worker. This is concerning because research into compassion science has shown that there is a link between burnout and the ability of clinicians to provide compassionate care. This research paper reviews data from a variety of different sources to outline the current challenges facing clinicians, relates these problems to burnout and compassion science, and looks at specific ways in which work-life balance can affect clinicians in different stages of their careers and different specialties. Based on this research, it seems that work-life balance is not an easy problem to solve because it is made up of challenges on both individual and structural levels. It is important for all physicians to work toward more balance in their careers and relationships and this can be aided by making changes to the current ways time off is given, scheduling is conducted, and resources are allocated.

Brendan Schwartz - Compassionate Care of Opioid Use Disorder Through Medications 

Brendan Schwartz

Evidence-based medication assisted therapy is the recommended treatment modality for Opioid Use Disorder by virtually every study and organization. Despite its efficacy, however, a vast majority of treatment centers do not implement medications and a vast majority of patients are not treated with evidence-based therapies. This gap in research and implementation has allowed the opioid crisis to reach its most deadly point in history. The factors contributing to the gap include excess regulation, a shortage of providers, and a lack of education, but at the heart of all these factors is stigma. To truly make any change, the stigma surrounding this disorder must be eliminated in practice, policymakers, and the public. But for this to happen, the stigma underlying all these issues must be addressed through compassion resset and recovery and top-down empathy processing.






Andrew Spittell - The Potential Impact of Individualized and Holistic Care to Fight Against and Prevent Diabetes Burnout 

Andrew Spittell

In a landscape of healthcare that is seeing an increasing prevalence of diabetes, adherence to treatment and the motivation to engage in necessary self-care is of the utmost importance for this patient population. The amount of discipline and responsibility required to appropriately manage this condition results in a large amount of work for those with diabetes mellitus. Much like individuals can become burnt out from their own careers, not wanting to put in the effort anymore, so too can diabetes patients become burnt out from their chronic illness. Diabetes burnout is characterized by a lack of motivation to adhere to treatment regimens and provide self-care, with little regard for future resulting long-term health complications. This burnout is highly implicative in more aggressive disease states that are seen in patients who do not manage their condition well. Although not immediately apparent, the consequential health decline resulting from a lack of effort to care for oneself can be dire. This author explores the potential for more personalized and holistic care strategies to prevent burnout in patients with diabetes.

The efficacy of these strategies and suggestions is highlighted by cited studies and the unique nature of diabetes as a largely lifestyle-driven illness. Both proactive and reactive measures have a large potential to prevent and fight against diabetes burnout, helping both patients and their physicians. Giving this patient population the necessary tools for success in self-care is imperative to stopping burnout before it occurs. Implementation of these strategies at the personal, clinical, and organizational levels would ideally result in an increase in patient mental health, treatment plan adherence, and overall well-being. In order for these strategies to be effective, the use of specific behavioral and technical tactics is a topic of discussion in order to give specifics that can give much-needed help to this often tired and worn-down patient population.

Charlotte Spraul - Using Tools from Compassion Science to Combat the Mental Health Crisis in the NICU 

Charlotte Spraul

Current research has emphasized the high rates of poor psychological outcomes for parents and staff members of the NICU, including burnout, depression, and PTSD. This paper reviews reports of common stressors identified by parents and providers in the NICU environment. It also discusses compassion science-based models of the caregiving process, and attempts to identify how those stressors conflict with an ideal outcome of successful compassionate care. It identifies current recommendations for improving psychosocial program standards. Finally, it discusses the merits of the international model of Family Integrated Care which is based on the Patient and Family Centered Care paradigm and the possibility of a similar
model being used in the context of the United States healthcare system. A comprehensive literature review was performed to address these issues and the findings are presented accordingly.

Sarah Steadman - When Doctors and Artificial Intelligence Work Together: Artificial Intelligence in Medicine and the Ability of Technology to Enhance Compassionate Care 

Sarah Steadman

As the applications of artificial intelligence (AI) in medicine continue to develop, some have found themselves asking: “will robots replace doctors?” While the future of artificial intelligence promises more accurate diagnosis and improvements in productivity of care, it is critical to consider the importance of compassionate care in medicine and explore why artificial intelligence systems cannot and should not attempt to replace the human capacity for clinical empathy. However, AI does have a key role to play in the development of compassionate care in medicine. Through comprehensive review of AI’s current and future roles in healthcare and current medical literature regarding its practical and ethical usage, the implications of advanced medical AI are addressed. As the modern healthcare system faces physician shortages and consequentially pushes for higher levels of productivity in care, AI can grant clinicians more time and emotional energy to dedicate to patients by aiding in clerical and diagnostic aspects of care. Ultimately, the development of AI systems that focus on fostering patient trust in physicians and recognizing the irreplaceable nature of physician empathy can change healthcare for the better. With these innovations, medicine can change from a field where the electronic health record contributes to clinician burnout into one where artificial intelligence allows compassionate care to thrive.



Isabella Stefanoudakis - The Importance of Compassionate Care in Pediatric Oncologists: The struggles, stressors, and hurdles to a healthy doctor-parent-patient relationship 

Isabella Stefanoudakis

This capstone is a review of the use of compassionate care in pediatric oncology. Using the five-finger model as a framework, it goes in depth into the challenges in the field that could inhibit the practice of compassion. The model, constructed by Dr. Dominic Vachon, includes an assessment of the psychological state, competence, and well-being of the physician, the patient experience, and organizational factors. This piece analyzes each of these factors in the practice of pediatric oncology today and how they can be improved to benefit the physicians, parents, and patients involved.

Jeremy Sutterer - Interpersonal and Institutional Trust as Measures to Increase Patient Adherence 

Jeremy Sutterer

Patient nonadherence to treatment plans is a serious concern in the US medical field leading to nearly 125,000 deaths and almost half of all avoidable healthcare spending each year. While many have been proposed, no single solution has been implemented to effectively increase patient adherence. In recent years, the literature has observed an effect on adherence and other medical outcomes due to patient trust in the physician. A comprehensive PUBMED facilitated literature search was undertaken to address this topic. This article provides commentary on clinical studies regarding the interpersonal trust between patient and physician, the sociological history of how medical professionals have developed institutional trust, and how these two forms of trust are necessary to increase patient adherence. Physicians can build trust at the interpersonal level by demonstrating expertise, knowing the sociological background of their patients, presenting at the same power level as their patients, and cultivating their own stable attachment patterns. At the institutional level, they can integrate interpersonal trust lessons across the curriculum of all medical training programs and use the AMA’s lobbying power to make medicine cheaper for patients. Increasing trust at the interpersonal and institutional level is an effective method of reducing patient nonadherence without increasing the burden on healthcare spending.




Lucy Tarcha - The Application of the Science of Compassion to Informal Caregiving for Individuals with Bipolar Disorder 

Lucy Tarcha

Bipolar disorder is a serious, life-changing mental illness associated with persistent episodes of mania and oftentimes depression (American Psychiatric Association, 2022). While many studies have considered how to best care for individuals with bipolar disorder, limited research has focused on protecting the well-being of their informal caregivers. Informal caregivers experience extreme levels of burden associated with the unpredictability and variability of bipolar disorder symptoms, along with the chronic nature of the disorder. This paper evaluates how the science of compassion offers insight into mitigating the burnout experienced by informal caregivers for individuals with bipolar disorder. To date, no research has specifically addressed the implementation of Compassion Science principles by informal caregivers; however, in this paper, I consider how they explain the mechanisms that are operative in numerous other studies involving informal caregivers for individuals with bipolar disorder. I determine that the compassion mindset and The Model of Balanced Compassionate Care, which focuses on achieving an optimal level of emotional involvement, would help to decrease the physical and emotional toll of informal caregivers’ challenging responsibilities

Elaine Teeters - The Relationship Between Type 1 Diabetes and Mental Health Disorders 

Elaine Teeters

Type 1 diabetics have higher rates of many mental health disorders, including eating disorders, anxiety, and depression. This is due to the excess focus on carbohydrates to maintain blood sugars and the increased emotional burden associated with diabetes. Technology and different types of support systems have been studied on how they impact type 1 diabetics. There are mixed results on technology’s impact on improving mental health disorders. Physician support, parental support, and peer support have been shown to be integral parts of caring for a type 1 diabetic. Through a compassionate mindset and different methods, such as the BATHE technique, physicians can help support their patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Treatment for patients with T1D and mental health disorders differ based on a variety of factors. Further studies should be completed to examine the factors that can help protect type 1 diabetics against these mental health disorders.



Matthew Yuro - Compassionate Care and the United States Homeless Population 

Matt Yuro

Homelessness is an issue that affects hundreds of thousands of people in the United States. Due to a variety of social and economic factors, individuals experiencing homelessness face extreme health disparities, suffering far worse overall health than the general population. Despite their increased need for healthcare, people experiencing homelessness face several obstacles to receiving medical treatment. This paper through a comprehensive literature review investigates healthcare options for the United States homeless population, highlighting the use and omission of compassionate care principles and their effects. Results show that hospital emergency departments and free community clinics are the primary healthcare providers for individuals experiencing homelessness. In hospitals, discrimination, bias, and lack of compassionate care results in worse health outcomes for homeless hospital patients compared to the general population. Conversely, free community health clinics demonstrate how treating people experiencing homelessness with compassionate care leads to rapid improvement not only in health, but in social areas of life. Lastly, this paper offers policy changes from the individual to the organizational level that may improve health outcomes of patients experiencing homelessness through the implementation of principles of compassionate care.

Timothy Yuro - Analyzing Compassionate Caring When Dealing with Rare Diseases Compared to Common Diseases 

Tim Yuro

As many as 30 million people suffer from a rare disease in the United States. There are over 7000 conditions of which many that have little to no treatment options available. Despite the large number of patients that are burdened with these diseases, there is a surprising lack of information and awareness in the diagnostic and treatment plan carried out by physicians. In these difficult situations, compassionate care becomes increasingly important for physicians and is crucial to provide the care that these patients deserve. Through my time as a Notre Dame Cheerleader, I have had the ability to interact with patients and raise awareness for rare diseases which led me to choose the topic for this research. In this paper, I describe the challenges faced by those with rare diseases both diagnostic and in treatment, and explored different approaches for the use of compassionate care when interacting with them. Even though physicians might not be able to guarantee a treatment for patients with rare diseases, they can guarantee proper care and compassion at all times.